Signs That Dogs Are Happy

by Lisa McQuerrey
    Dogs show their emotions in physical ways.

    Dogs show their emotions in physical ways.

    John Howard/Lifesize/Getty Images

    Most canine companions love their owners unconditionally, and are exuberant in physically displaying their happiness, love and affection for their human care-givers. A dog that is happy may exhibit a variety of different traits, from perky ears and a wagging tail, to a calm, docile and loving demeanor. Learning how to read your dog’s body language will help you tell when he is happy, and when he isn’t feeling his best.

    Body Language

    A dog that is happy will show his emotion throughout his entire body, from the brightness of his eyes, all the way to the rapid wagging of his tail. A happy dog often looks like he is wiggling his entire body in eager anticipation at seeing you walk in the door after a long day at work. A dog may playfully jump up just to be close to you in his excitement, but proper obedience training should help your pup learn how to show restraint and manners, even when overwhelming happy.

    Submissive Behavior

    While a scared dog may whimper, hold his tail between his legs and bow down submissively in front of you, a happy dog will put his rump in the air and wag his tail in an effort to invite you to play. He may jump up excitedly on his hind legs to get your attention and show you he is eager, happy, and ready for interaction. This behavior may be a accompanied by short, high-pitched barks or squeals and energetic pacing back and forth in front of you.

    Belly Rubs

    A happy dog will roll on his back and expose his belly to you, a sign that he is happy and is trusting of you. Rewarding your pup with a nice belly scratch in this instance will increase the happiness exponentially. In fact, a dog that initiates physical contact, such as bumping up against you, putting his muzzle in your hand or pawing at you is expressing his happiness and desire to be with you.

    Quiet Times

    A happy and content dog may show you how he feels just by sitting quietly beside you with his head on your lap or with his body nestled against yours. This is his way of showing a relaxed happiness that demonstrates his enjoyment at simply being in your presence. The more quality time you are able to spend with your pup and include him in your everyday life, the more signs of this form of happiness you are likely to experience.

    Photo Credits

    • John Howard/Lifesize/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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